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tv   White House Chronicles  WHUT  November 13, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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captioned by the national captioning institute >> hello there. i am llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle," which is coming right up. but first, a few thoughts of my own. closely related thoughts about newspapers. both of these endeavors are in terrible trouble financially. the old business models are
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broken, and there is something very sad for someone like myself who has spent a lifetime not only working in newspapers and magazines, but also consuming them. in american journalism, magazines have been very advanced, very clever, very thoughtful. newspapers are somewhat repetitive. the newspaps today are not nearly as much the same as 100 years ago. magazines are a different story. the digest was released -- reader's digest was started about the same time as "time" magazine. the idea of "time magazine" -- that it would boil it down, give it a sense of fun and energy in "the new york times, up and off they would go, and it was one of the greatest publishing successes of all time. now magazines are hurting, with the single exception of this one, "the economist," which
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comes out of britain but is aimed at people on the other side of the atlantic. it manages to hold on and to prosper, and it does that because it does what the old "time magazine" used to do. it gives you all the news with a sense of energy and fun. newspapers -- nobody knows what their future is. it is bad for our democracy and our own well-being, and we do not have an lot of newspapers and magazines. let me tell you, television, radio, twittering, etc., do not fill the great void that the disappearance of these marvelous things will create. it is very sad for those of us who have given our lives to working in journalism, and in doing what our friend did on him the best part of
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journalism. he said, "i like to find out what is happening and tell people." we all have loved doing that. we are not politicians. we like to find out what is happening and tell you. it is sad that the economic model is broken. today we will find out some things in the wonderful floating conversation between mendon gasparello and bob franken and myself. -- between linda gasparello, bob franken, and myself. we will be right back without interruption. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. now, your program host, nationally syndicated columnist llewellyn king, and co-host linda gasparello.
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>> hello again, and thank you so much for coming along. i promised you two wonderful people -- hear they are. monday gasparello, a co-host of this program, which last -- linda gasparello, co-host of this program, who is laughing at some of that bob franken said. >> we love laughing with bob franken. >> linda gasparello, tell me, how did you get into journalism and why are you here doing it after a year or two or five or 10 or 20? >or longer? >> i got into journalism by design. i decided that i wanted to be a foreign correspondent, but i did not want to spend a lot of time covering local politics and local issues. so i got myself a couple of
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languages, and armed with the languages, i went off to the middle east and i felt myself a job pretty much immediately. they needed me because i was able to speak those languages, so i am trying to encourage all the young viewers out there to get a language under your belt. it is a fast track to foreign correspondents. >> bob franken, a syndicated columnist, you had a very distinguished program on cnn, appeared on msnbc. you are fairly busy. how did you come to be a journalist? >> well, i am still waiting to become one. >> i would have thought you would make a suburban litigator, myself -- a superb litigator, myself. >> you could probably argue that at certain times that is what we do. the appropriate answer to your question, and it is highly inappropriate, is i met a guy and a bar. that is how the career began.
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for those who are wondering what to do with your life, i can only say that this is a wonderful undertaking. what we do -- >> it needs no adult supervision. it is a lot more serious. >> here is the problem today. you talked in your opening comments about the demise of print media. i think that the larger problem is not so much the lack of paper publications, but i think it is a lack of regard on the part of people on the part of journalism -- they come from a world that considers meddlesome journalism something that is bothersome to them. in other words, they come from the establishment. they could care less about the issue of journalism, which is to be an independent voice standing off to the side, checking things
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out, being the skeptic. these are people from the corporate world who do not really like that, so they are not ready to support it, particularly when it interferes with their bottom line. >> i think the great danger is that journalism is in such trouble. salaries are so low. so many people are working without being paid, that we are not going to attract the talent that is required. it really is -- there probably is some similarity between law and journalism. it is a words-based profession. we are not on to have the rate riders to be the -- the great writers to the columnists and area -- and editors of tomorrow. >> i think there is also another thing in there, which means -- which is the fact that we have so many demands on our time.
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when you pick up your paper, whether it is "the washington post" or "the new york times," u could be sure that what you read would give you a great picture of what was going on in washington, what was going on around the world. the demand that it made on your time was so much less than the demand on your time now, with this very fragmented way people are getting their news, people are getting their entertainment. >> you check the internet, you check this, you check that. >> exactly. you have to go to so many sources, this gigantic menu of places where you can pick your news, pick your entertainment selections. it is too much work to do what a paper did in a very compressed way. >> this is going to sound like
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heresy, but i am going to put this out as an argument. could it be argued that that is really the more democratic way to do it, the more egalitarian way to do it? to let people decide what it is they are interested in, as opposed to some elitists who say from their offices that people should know this and have no need to know this? >> with your argument -- ahmad >> it is not my argument, it is just -- in reality, though, too much choice can be oppressive. a young person says i do not know which of these five people i should marry. the answer is is the sixth one whom you have not met yet. let's move on from this because we are not on to solve all the problems of journalism. >> why move on? >> i want to talk about another choice, and that is something
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that you have been covering. i want to know how the journalism business, covering health care -- we have been in this health care debate, you have written about it. what are your conclusions about american health care? about health care in america? >> about the coverage of it? well, the coverage of it really, contradictory answers. there has been a lot of superficial coverage, the kind of he said, she said coverage, of who the nationalities -- of to the personalities are, an issue that is substantive and like health care. paradoxically, some of the best coverage i have seen has come in these newspapers, that we say are dinosaurs. "the washington post," "the new york times," have often comes done a brilliant job of putting
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into context the different aspects of health care, whether it is the role of the insurance company, the doctors, etc., how they match, that type of thing, has been done in ways that i think are odd-inspiring by some of the writers and "the washington post" and "the new york times." >> the reason why we conduct that type of coverages because newspapers can see this issue coming along, and they assign teams of reporters who immersed themselves in an issue, as opposed to getting the he said, see said-she said, that the things. that only a large well-funded news organization can do. >> i would like to know if you have any conclusions from examining -- if you were to make the decision about health care, would you go with a single payer which looks like some european
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countries? would you mix it up, as in germany? how would you go? >> well, the answer is i would probably start with something different from what we have in the united states. there is a wonderful book out there called "the healing of america," by a washington post reporter. what we have in the united states is an amalgam of the worst, that just about all of the system that you talked about, we have a little bit from this one, a little bit bad from this one, etc. so you end up with something that cims it is the best health care in the world when the statistics say it is pretty pathetic, the quality of health care and united states. >> you are saying the medicine is pathetic, so what about care? >> the medicine is pathetic, the results are pathetic. and the costs are exorbitant. >> that is very depressing. >> what happens then is that it gets demagogued to death.
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that is what we're seeing right now. the old things that scare people into tea parties, and from the left, things that are unrealistic. you end up in the same state of political paralysis, and the united states gets into deeper trouble providing something that should be a fundamental right in this country. >> what happens with the current debate that we have moved ahead, there is not a recognition, that there ever really was that this is a broken system, and it is getting worse, not better? >> i think a lot of people, despite the demagoguery, have been convinced there is a better way. if there is anything that president obama has done is opening the pandora's box of health care, the fact that he has made people think about how things could be different. i donot think you can go back. i think once he removed, once he
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pushed away that rock, is for word in our thinking. they could be a lot better. a lot of americans have been treated abroad. a lot of americans are coming back from living abroad that have used the french system, which i think is a superb system. i have used the english medical system, which i think it's terrific, too. i've used the egyptian medical system. i even used the iranian medical system. >> the egyptian medical system is something you are going to wish on us? >> the egyptian medical system, when i needed it, it came through. >> let's make sure, first of all, that we do not get so caught up in what so many people do that they do not provide a better balance because i think it is appropriate. the british system -- the people of britain despise it. >> i lived under eit.
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>> they are loath to get rid of it, but the american people to a large degree are here, too. let's suppose that you are right, that president obama has achieved point number one, which is to say that this is bad, folks, we have to do something about it. when you come up with the solutions, all of them have down sides. for example, how hpy are people going to be when you are suddenly told that you must buy health care or you are going to be fined a penalty? i do not think they will be very happy about that. >> i would ask you to hold that thought. i would like to identify ourselves for the benefit of our many listeners on sirius-xm radio. i am llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle," which you're listening to.
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i am joined by co-host linda gasparello, and columnist bob franken. if you want to see us, you can see us on back to our issues of health. let's move on. what other contentious issues have a lot people on both sides -- >> there are none. everybody is happy as can be. well, there is afghanistan. >> of course. >> what are we going to do? as an old policeman, i got into a rather heated discussion the other day, that i did not plan on. in the 1900's, there used to be a saying in the british parliament that we cannot be the
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world's policeman. i was told that we had to be because we are the world's superpower. >> my feeling is that we need a regional security apparatus. it is a regional problem that the region is not taking responsibility for. we need more interest by china. china has a lot to lose with and afghanistan and falls apart or a pakistan that falls apart. >> or india. >> india has a huge thing to lose. we are fighting this battle for them. it is our blood and it is their treasure, and we should take more of an interest in the area. >> what do you feel about being
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iranian enrichment of uranium? >> everybody suspects what it is for. >> do you think they can actually make a weapon? >> given time, they will be able to do it, knowing that iranian engineers are very well trained and very smart, and it is an entitlement now that you will not take away from them. >> what was the most pleasant aspect of life in iran? >> the most pleasant aspect was the day to day living in iran, which it was like living in france, actually. a feast for the eyes were you went. no matter what corner of the city you turned in, whether it was tehran are sure as, tremendous ancient cutters --
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ancient cultures. i love the pride that the people had in their country. people who work, you know, as i said, they had so much culture, and that to me was -- >> outside of that, why are they going after israel? is it purely an islamic thing? >> no, i do not think so. it is the fact that iran wants recognition, and it is not getting the recognition it feels it deserves. >> the complication is that iran is not an arab nation. it is different from the arab nations. there are tensions between the persians and the arabs, and that complicates things in the region. but the one thing that they are able to do to ingratiate themselves with their neighbors
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is to ke on the cause of palestine. >> however, they are shia, and with the eeption of iraq -- >> which creates more complication in all of this type of fine, but also,o not forget that if you put in the fact that the united states, because of the support of the shah, who was regarded as the great satan and still is to a degree, it is politically palatable to oppose anything the united states is 4. >> let's get back to the idea of recognition. i worked -- we were talking about the recognition factor. he said something that was really -- that has really stuck with me. he was studying germany after
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world war i, and he said that countries that are humiliated and are not recognized and have a tremendous sense of their culture and nationality tend to make war. he was looking at that in terms of where the future wars may be. iran is a test case of that. it has been humiliated. it has a tremendous sense of nationalism and identity, and it is a country that is not recognized -- >> does that mean we should stand by and let it get a nuclear weapon? >> i want to know how you think it will not get a nuclear weapon. >> that is a very good response. >> the answer will be some successful intelligence effort, to putting people that are not such dogmatic nationalists, who are not crazy people, as the people who seem to be that are
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running the country now. >> i spent a lot of my life working on nuclear proliferation issues. there are two points. one is the point by david ignatius, and he said it has not had much response. the gas which you put into the centrifuges to get in richmond -- to get enrichment, at 10,000 revolutio per second, is in pure. there are other gases enter it, and the possibility is that if we are trying to go above 3%, 4%, 5%, which is what we do at power plants, which makes it as a nuclear weapon -- these huge centrifuges will disintegrate. that is very interesting. the other thing, i think the way you stop proliferation or at least buy some time, is not to go out to the sites.
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go after the big central an electric supply. they consume a lot of electricity, and we have found in modern warfare that you can bomb cities, bomb peopl but if you bomb out there and it to the, very quickly nothing works. we are all wired in the modern world. >> the only problem is that is premised on war. that is a little tiny problem. except for the fact that this is not some pushover country. we apparently cannot be the pushover countries, as we see in afghanistan. this is a country that is formidable. there is a national pride, and it has quite a military. >> we are fighting a people. that is very different. >> the united states even with its allies could not go running roughshod in iran without taking the rest of the world down with it. so that really kind of puts a damper on going after an
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elective supply. that is an act of war. >> i would like to change the subject. tell me, bob, what in your life are you particularly proud of? i will make i easier on you by telling you what i am proud of. it has nothing to do with journalism and politics. one is learning to ride a horse when i was an adult. the second is learning to fly an airplane. these are things you cannot take away from me. i could do those things. everything else in our lives is remarkably subjective. go ahead, tell me. >> i want to tell you one that is so cliche that i am embarrassed, and that is i have a loving family that i am proud of. it is going to sound like i am running for office, but that is the true spirit if i may, the next thing is also cliche. that is what i chose to do in life. there have been basic moments in life that have made me particularly proud in the
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profession. in an example, during the iraq war, we were the only media who were there -- and this was cnn at the time -- we were the only ones with a camera or two to record the release of the eight pow's that had been held in iraq. they were given up for dead, so we have this video and the store was these people were alive. i was able to go live with that. meanwhile, back at headquarts, they had families on who watched this to respond. there was a thousand miles away realizing i was bringing such joined with the news to each families, from despair, that they were seeing their loved ones. it occurred to me that we live in a global village and i was getting to be a part of something that was a magnificent moment. that is something that has never left me. >> there is also the message, i do not know which medium anymore.
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>> twitter. >> 140-letter message. >> linda, what are you proud of? or sorry about? one big thing in your life, not necessarily professional, that comes to mind? >> one thing i am glad about that i am proud about, too, is the fact that i, unlike many journalists, i am not apathetic. it still excites me. i still want to find out, i still want to do, to tell people what i have learned. i find, as i said, i know other journalists who have become better and they are not interested in going to the seminars and they're not interested in the travel. but i find that i am a terrible terrorist because i love to travel, but when i go, -- i am a terrible tourist, because i love
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to travel, but when i go, i want to write about it and tell people about it. that is very exciting, and i am proud to have that in me still. >> that is great. is it so exciting to be a damn sure reporter after so many years? >> -- a gum surshoe reporter afr so many years? >> absolutely. you are able to go out there and tell people about the war. this goes back to the 1990 pause when clarence thomas was having his now infamous hearings on capitol hill, which were bizarre, as most of us remember. i was the one who got to talk on the air and bring people news about the hair on the coca-cola cans and all this stuff. more importantly, that -- >> we are coming to the end here. >> that is when the issue of sexual harassment once and for all came to the national
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consciousness. >> thank you, bob. that is our program for today. we are so glad you joined us. you can see these program -- this program and read some of my articles at goodbye. all the best. captioned by the national captioning institute >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, hard university television. from washington, d.c., this has been "white house chronicle," a weekly analysis of the news with a sense of humor featuring llewellyn king, linda
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gasparello, and guests. this program can be seen on pbs stations and cable access channels. to view the